It can be tough watching a loved one struggle with a mental health disorder—whether that means depression, anxiety, PTSD, or something else. Hopefully, your loved one is receiving care from a qualified mental health professional. If not, encourage them to do so, and make it clear that you’ll support them on their recovery journey in whatever ways they need. Beyond that, there are other ways in which you can help a loved one through their mental health journey. Here are a few guidelines.

How to Help a Loved One with a Mental Health Disorder

  • Educate yourself. Mental health disorders come in many forms, and with many symptoms. In order to be truly empathetic and understanding, it’s important to familiarize yourself with whatever your loved one is going through.
  • Be calm and patient. Sometimes, mental health disorders can cause people to act strangely or erratically—but remember, that’s the illness, and losing your cool will only make things worse.
  • Be respectful. Ask how you can help your loved one, but don’t be too pushy or controlling. He or she may not want to talk about it, and that’s okay. Just be there for them, whenever they need you.
  • Put boundaries in place. Even as you give care and support, it’s important that you keep some space for yourself. Have boundaries in place, ensuring that you get the self-care you need.
  • Listen. More than anything, you can just be there for your loved one to talk to. You don’t always have to have solutions. Simply taking the time to listen to them can be healing in and of itself.
There is much you can do to support a loved one who’s dealing with a mental health disorder—but remember that clinical intervention is always recommended. Encourage your loved one to seek a diagnosis and an ongoing treatment plan. Reach out to Seacliff for more recovery resources!
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